Kashmir In Parliament: Art 370, 35A, Militancy And Stone Pelting

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SRINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the issue of Kashmir would have been resolved had  Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel  been the Prime Minister and not Nehru. He was speaking in Rajya Sabha where he took pot-shots on Congress and singled out Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik receiving Home Minister Amit Shah on his maiden Kashmir visit on June 26, 2019. Pic: DIPR

“We think that if Sardar Saheb (Vallabhbhai Patel) was made the first Prime Minister of India, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir would have been resolved,” Modi said while participation in the motion of thanks to the President’s address. “Sardar Patel was a true Congressman. He was made the first Home Minister of the country. But I am surprised as the Congress remembers him only during the Gujarat elections when his pictures become visible in the party’s posters. But during the Lok Sabha elections, his photographs are not seen in any of the party’s posters.”

Suggesting Ghualm Nabi Azad to spend a few days in Gujarat, the home of Patel where Modi built the Statue of Unity, the Prime Minister accused him of a “blurred vision”. Azad had earlier said of an “old India” which had “love, affection and culture and where a human being was not afraid of another human being”.

Modi used poet Assadullah Khan’s famous coupled to take a dig on Azad. He recited: “Ta Umr Ghalib Yeh Bhool Karta Raha, Dhool Chehray Pe Thi, Aaina Saaf Karta Raha.” Prime Minister Modi said people are not ready to accept the “old India” where “a Cabinet was torn by a leader in a press conference, where an Indian Naval Ship was used as a personal taxi, (and) where scams were visible everywhere.”

But that was on all in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. There were a series of questions about and around Kashmir.

Special Position

Ms Chhaya Verma asked about the Government’s stand on Article 370 and Article 35A. The response said: “At present, Article 370 is part of Constitution of India under title “Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir” and Article 35A is contained in The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 issued by the President of India under Article 370.”

The response was not much different from what Prabhat Jha got in a similar question. The MHA said: “At present, Article 370 is contained as a temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in Part XXI (Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions) of the Indian Constitution.

In terms of article 370, the provisions of article 1 and article 370 shall apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. With regards to matters relating to the Instrument of Accession, President of India can issue orders in consultation with the State Government, whereas for applying other provisions of the Constitution of India, with such exceptions and modifications as the President may by order specify, the concurrence of the State Government is required.”

On Militancy

The MHA told Ms Verma in response to her un-starred question: “The Government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism. Effective response is given by the security forces to counter terrorist activities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In order to combat activities of terrorists, several steps have been taken including strengthening operational grid, enhancing coordination amongst security agencies, effective retaliation of terror acts, strengthening of ROP to protect convoys, etc.”

Member Sukhram Singh had asked a detailed question on the situation of militancy. The answer that the government tabled said: “ The Government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism. Security Forces are taking effective and continuous action in countering terrorism. This has resulted in corresponding change in the number of such incidents, including casualties. A large number of terrorists have been neutralized in the State of Jammu and Kashmir during the last three years. The details regarding the terrorists killed”.

The MHA response said the counter insurgency grid killed 150 militants in 2016, 213 in 2017, 257 in 2018 and 113 in 2019, so far. The loss of civilians was put at 15, 40, 39 and 18 in the same years.

“ Security Forces keep a close watch on persons who attempt to provide support to terrorists and initiate action against them. In order to bring about overall development for the benefit of people of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister has announced a package of Rs.80,068 crores. This package consists of 63 major development projects in Road sector, Power generation and transmission, health infrastructure, establishment of 2 AIIMS, IITs, IIMs and tourism related projects etc. Training and employment opportunities for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir are also provided under many schemes such as HIMAYAT and UDAAN. In order to mainstream the youth, special emphasis is being given to Watan ko Jano program, student exchange program, sports as well as civic action program of CAPFs,” the response added.

Additional information was revealed in response to a question asked by member Prabhat Jha: “The Government has also constituted a Joint Monitoring Committee involving all concerned agencies at the central level and a Multi Disciplinary Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) at the State level for sustained action against terror funding. This has, inter-alia, resulted in a significant decline in the incidents of stone pelting in 2019 so far, compared to the number of incidents during the corresponding period last year.”

Stone Pelting

The MHA in response to related question by Anil Deasi said: “Pursuant to the Government policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, the State Government has taken stringent action to deal with stone pelting, including identification and arrest of stone pelters and instigators of such acts under relevant laws.”

Revealing statistics about the number of incidents of stone pelting and miscreants arrested in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the last three years, the response said there were 2653 cases of stone pelting in Kashmir in 2016 in which 10571 persons were arrested of whom 276 were sent to the jail. In 2017, the number of stone pelting incidents were 1412 in which 2838 persons were arrested and 63 sent to jail. In 2018, the number of stone pelting cases were 1458 in which 3797 persons were arrested and 65 were eventually sent to jail.

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